When the charming barman at Talented Mr Fox (which has now sadly shut) told me they were opening a new bar, I had to go see it. This bar, called Peg + Patriot, was to be found in Bethnal Green (on Patriot Square surpisingly) and opened last Friday.
What I hadn’t realised is that it was actually in a hotel – the Town Hall hotel, and so, like Talented Mr fox (in the One Leicester square hotel) it is easy to miss.
We arrived early evening on Thursday and it was close to empty. While the style was recognisable from Talented Mr Fox, it was much darker (greys and blacks instead of blues and yellows) and perhaps lacked some of its charm. The room has huge windows but they keep the drapes shut on purpose (apart from during the day on Sunday to create a different vibe). I love light rooms so found this a bit of a shame, but the bar man said that’s the ‘look’ they are going for.
Where it perhaps lacked in atmosphere (I’ll forgive it because it’s brand new) it certainly made up in service. The two bar men were wonderful. One was enjoying his first day on the job, and who had been cocktails tasting (just sips he assured me) all day so knew the menu inside out. The other, James, created the cocktail list here and at TMF with the owner Matt Whiley. He spent most of the evening making sure we were happy, taking us through all the cocktails, advising and explaining.
So which (funkily named) cocktails did we go for?
I had a tough decision between the Pho Money Pho Problems and the Rye your eyes mate (Whiskey Sour with a twist). In the end James encouraged the Pho, and I was so intrigued how what effectively sounded like a Vietnamese Pho soup could taste remotely like a delicious cocktail, that I went for it. Without being biased, it was the best of the bunch. Tasting almost edible, the savoury flavours mixed so well with the sweet. And the presentation was stunning.
Jo went for a lighter drink called Riot Cup Number One, since she was still nursing a hangover. Brit also opted for this long drink. Their cocktail was like a Pimms with a twist. Without sounding pretentious, it had so many layers of flavours, after every sip you’d taste something new.
Cecilia went for a Barley Legal – their take on a piña colada. I’m not usually a piña colada girl but this one was amazing. Probably because of the caramelised pineapple diffused in the rum (this was explained to us) and the subtle banana flavour. I loved the charcoal powder touch on the top.
To accompany the drinks we had the Iberico Pork and Fois gras sliders, with avocado mayo and pickled cucumbers (£12 for three). Wow. These are unforgettable; sharing three between four was almost torture. If they made full sized burgers like this, Meat Liquor and Patty and Bun would go out of business.
Verdict? Fantastic cocktails – not as ‘out there’ as TMF but just as intricate. And more reasonably priced. The decor did feel a bit bland, but they are a hotel bar I suppose, and I’m sure in due time they will get busier and more popular.
What really made my night was the service, so rare to find in bars these days. So secretly we were rather pleased the bar was so quiet, as it meant more attention for us.
Town Hall Hotel
London E2 9NF